Foundation, Functioning, and Accomplishments of the California Bird Records Committee
Hoffman Room, The San Diego Foundation – Monday, June 18, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Presented by Guy McCaskie.
From Rare Birds of California: “The California Bird Records Committee (hereafter the CBRC or Committee) was established in 1970 to help bridge the gap between scientific ornithology and recreational birding. Operating under the auspices of the California Field Ornithologists (later to become Western Field Ornithologists), it was the first committee formed in the Americas for the purpose of vetting records of vagrant and similarly rare bird species.”
The Godfather of California birding, Guy McCaskie is the co-founder of both Western Field Ornithogists, serving as its first president, as well as the CBRC, serving as either a member or a non-voting secretary since its inception in 1970. Guy’s impact on birding in California cannot be overstated. A 1992 article in American Birds (46: 204-213) says it best: “McCaskie raised the status of observation of complex avian events to a highly sophisticated part of the scientific procedure. He discovered serendipitously the large-scale and frequent occurrence of vagrants in California and took the lead in systematically exploiting that boon. He recognized the densifying properties of desert oases and coastal sites… As a result, he found birds where no one before him dreamed of looking and set into motion the gears of change for the whole birding community through his leadership and example. He defined the leading edge for a generation of birding innovators by developing a method of critical field observation that was unique when he started and which, for many, is now the standard.”
In December 2016, Guy was presented with the Citizen’s Award by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “for his excellence and outstanding contribution to knowledge of the status and distribution of birds at the Salton Sea.” Making weekly visits to the Salton Sea, Guy, as Kimball Garrett noted, is synonymous with the Salton Sea, and one cannot think of one without the other.